I was issued a challenge by the very enigmatic Sparkling Fae to write a short fic with the pairing of Seth/Bella. And, oh, what a challenge it was for me. Seth is a tough one to write because I kept thinking of him as a kid brother. So, without further ado, I present to you, Fate's Hand At Play.

This story is AU/OOC.

All characters belong to Stephanie Meyer. No copyright infringement intended.

Mature readers 18+ only please.

After a rough flight in from Boston, the jet finally descended upon Sea-Tac International Airport. Seth Clearwater was finally on his last leg home for his yearly Christmas pilgrimage to his mother's home in La Push. He used to come more often, but once he started medical school, he simply didn't have enough time to visit more often. At twenty-seven, he was still a young doctor, fresh out of residency. In May, he finally became a full fledged physician and he was hired as an associate at a small family practice in Quincy, Massachusetts.

The tribal elders of the Quileute Tribe were none to pleased about Seth's decision to practice medicine in Massachusetts. They urged him to return stating that he was doing his tribe a disservice. He was second in line to become a tribal elder after his sister and, as such, he should remain in La Push. Seth had told them all where they could shove their tribal elder position. He always had big dreams and aspirations and he refused to be bullied by the elders.

After that, they tried to get the pack involved, but the alpha, Jacob Black refused, stating that tribal government business and pack business had nothing to do with each other. Unlike the previous alpha, Sam Uley, Jacob ran the pack instead of letting the tribal elders run it. He was tired of the elders trying to run the lives of the pack members, he had seen too many ruined lives as a result of elder interference.

Seth's sister, Leah, became angry and confused as a direct result of Sam imprinting on their cousin Emily. She and Sam had been engaged to be married until the imprint happened and Sam dropped her like a ton of bricks with no explanation because the elders prohibited him from explaining it to her even though, as a gene carrier, she would have eventually been told the truth about the wolves. Leah ended up phasing herself. She and Jacob eventually imprinted on each other and they were as happy as clams now, but, prior to that, it had been torture for Leah.

Jacob, too, had been affected directly by Sam being blindly led by the elders. He lost his very best friend in the world, Bella Swan. After he phased, he was not allowed to see her or talk to her which resulted in Bella leaving the area for good. Jacob wanted to get back in touch with her and his sister wanted to meet her, but year after year, Bella wouldn't return to the area. When her father, Charlie Swan, married Seth and Leah's mother, Sue, Bella sent a card and a wedding gift. She refused to set foot in La Push, Washington again. Seth, Leah, nor Sue had ever met Bella Swan. Though Charlie spoke to her on the phone twice a month, she never really offered up any information about her personal life, he didn't even know what she did for a living or where she lived even.

Seth collected his luggage and made his way to the car rental counter where the line was outrageous. Every customer in line seemed to be in a foul mood. The snow was pelting down outside due to a freak blizzard and the car rental company didn't have enough vehicles to give out because customers had been unable or unwilling to return the vehicles on time due to cancelled or delayed flights and poor driving conditions. Seth, having experienced this in the past, had purchased a gold membership in which his car would be guaranteed and he wouldn't have to wait in line.

He zipped to a separate counter for gold membership customers and gave them his information. To his left, he heard a very pretty, woman with a temper that didn't match her jaw-dropping looks handing the agent his ass.

"So, what you're saying is that you don't have the vehicle that I rented two months ago on hand? How the hell am I supposed to get anywhere then?"

"Ma'am, there's nothing we can do. The customer who has your vehicle has been unable to return it to us due to the weather. We'll have it tomorrow for sure and we'll compensate your inconvenience with one free day of rental."

"I want to talk to your manager."

"Ma'am, there's no need..."

"Get me your manager now! Are you deaf? I asked to speak to your manager, I'm through discussing this with you."

Just as the manager came out, Seth's agent said, "Dr. Clearwater, your Chevy Malibu will be pulled up front for you within five minutes. If you would just sign here please."

"Now wait a god-damned minute!" the pretty, angry woman growled. "I requested a Chevy Malibu, your agent told me that there were none available, yet you just gave this man here a Chevy Malibu. That vehicle is mine, not his."

Seth didn't want to get involved so he scurried outside and listened in on the conversation using his amplified wolf hearing.

"Ma'am, he's a gold club member which provides premier service and guarantees a vehicle at all times."

"So, you're saying that you'll provide inferior quality customer service to the rest of us schmucks, but because he paid for a gold membership, you'll give him premier service?"

"I...I..." the manager stuttered.

"That's fine. Your agent here tells me that he's willing to provide me with one free day of car rental as compensation. Personally, I don't think it's enough. You see, I have to drive four hours to get to my destination. This car is an absolute necessity for me. What I would like is for you to provide a hotel room and all meals for me until you are able to get a vehicle for me. After that, you are going to provide the vehicle for me free of charge for the entire week due to the massive inconvenience that you've just caused."

"Ma'am, that's hardly reasonable. We can't possibly..."

"You can't possibly what? You have caused inconvenience to, not only me, but the twenty customers standing in line behind me. Now, unless you're going to produce a vehicle for me now, you will do as I request."

"Ma'am it's impossible, it's..."

The woman put her phone to her ear. "Did you hear that? Yes, okay, I'll put the manager on, one moment please." She turned to the manager with a smug smile. "I happen to have your corporate offices on the line right now. The vice president of operations would like to speak with you."

Seth's car was delivered to him just as the frightened manager took the phone from the woman. He would have liked to hear the outcome of the conversation, but he had a long drive to La Push, Washington ahead of him.

With the snowstorm, it took Seth over six hours to drive the normally three and a half hour route home. By the time he arrived, it was two in the morning and everyone was sleeping. He set his luggage down in his room and nodded off to sleep. With the difference in time zone, it was actually five am for him, well past his bedtime. He'd normally be waking up for work in an hour's time.

Seth woke up around ten am to the smell of bacon frying in the pan. "Hey, Mom, good morning," he greeted.

"Seth! I'm so glad you're home. How was the drive in from Seattle? Was it bad?"

"Atrocious. It took me over six hours."

"How are you, son?" Charlie asked, pulling him in for a hug.

"Great. Don't you have work today, Dad?"

"Nope, I took the week off. I finally convinced Bella to spend Christmas with us."

"Wow, that's great. Is she here?"

"Not yet, she had a problem getting a rental car so she was forced to stay overnight in Seattle. She'll be here sometime today, though. She'll be staying in Leah's old room."

"I'm not surprised. When I rented my car, they were having massive issues providing vehicles for everyone who rented one. I have a gold membership so my car was guaranteed, but the woman standing next to me was irate because they didn't have a car for her."

"Well, she sounded pissed off last night. I'll tell you that much."

Seth was pleased that Bella was finally coming to see Charlie. He knew that his step-father missed her. He hadn't seen her for thirteen years. Seth wanted Charlie to be happy. He had done more for him than even his own father did. Charlie was the one who came to every hockey game he was in, he was the one that dug out his old hockey gear and passed Seth puck after puck until he hit the goal each and every time, he taught him how to drive, he taught him how to fish, and he was able to go to him for advice whenever he had girl or pack problems. Charlie knew about the pack because when Seth and Leah first phased, Charlie was right there when it happened. It was also the day that Seth and Leah's own father, Harry, passed away.

Around five in the early evening, the pack started stopping by with their imprints and their kids to say hello to Seth and hoping to catch a glimpse of the elusive Bella Swan. An hour later, the girl of the hour knocked on the door. Charlie barreled to the door to answer it and pulled his daughter into his arms.

"I'm sorry that you had problems with the rental car company yesterday, kiddo," he said.

"Oh, I know. It was unbelievable. They had twenty customers in line behind me in a similar situation, not to mention the twelve ahead of me. To top it off, some turd brain with a gold membership was given his car right away without even having to wait in line. Ugh! I can't stand elitist pigs."

"Well, it's good to have you safe at home. Let me introduce you to everyone. Seth was the last one to be introduced because he was in the kitchen grabbing a soda.

"And this is Sue's son, Seth, who I've told you about," Charlie said.

Seth's world stopped the moment he looked into Bella Swan's eyes. The earth shattered around him, he swore that angels in heaven were singing, and he was completely mesmerized. His world began and ended with the girl in front of him. He glanced around and noticed that the entire pack was aware that he had just imprinted.

"Hi, I'm..."

"You're the fucker that stole my car yesterday!" she roared.

Well, that wasn't exactly a good start to forever with his imprint.

"I...I...I didn't mean to. It wasn't my fault!" Seth blurted in desperation.

"I know that. I'm just kind of perturbed that you just waltzed in there, got your car, and left while the rest of us had to stand in line only to be told that there were no vehicles available."

"So, what ended up happening?"

"Oh, well, the rental car agency paid for my hotel, dinner last night, and breakfast this morning. I have my rental car free for the week plus they gave me a free lifetime membership to their gold club."

"Wow, how did you manage that? Are you a lawyer or something?" Leah asked.

"No, I'm an emergency room physician."

"Well, that explains her short temper," Seth thought.

"Wait a minute! When did you go to medical school?" Charlie asked.

"Right after college."

"Well, how come you didn't tell me? I could have helped you pay for it. I didn't even know that you went to college."

"It slipped my mind."

"Slipped your mind! Bella, I don't even know where you live!"

"Manhattan, New York."

"You live in a big, dangerous city by yourself?"

"Well, I used to live with my boyfriend until I threw him out of my place. I have no patience for narcissistic lawyers."

"Bella, why all the secrets? Why couldn't you even give me an inkling as to what's been going on with your life?" Charlie asked, clearly losing hold on the temper that he generally had full control of.

"There were issues that I needed to deal with away from here, Charlie. They were complex and they needed to be handled in a special manner."

"Thirteen years, Bella! Thirteen! I don't care how bad your problems were, you don't go and abandon your family for thirteen years! I was worried about you!"

"I'm sorry, but I had to leave. It was more for your safety than anything."

"Is this about that fucking Cullen vampire that you dated? Did he threaten you or me?"

Bella's jaw dropped. "How did you know that he was a vampire?" she gulped.

It was so silent in the living room that you could hear a pin drop. No one was saying a word. Sue Clearwater broke the silence. "I think it's time we told her about the pack. She needs to know. She is a part of the pack now."

Bella was in complete shock. How did her father know that the Cullens were vampires? Looking around the room, she realized that everyone here knew about vampires. She took a look at Jacob Black's guilty face and realized that he had been hiding something from her. They all were and she didn't want to hear it. She was free of evil vampires and she wanted nothing to do with them ever again.

"I...I need to get some fresh air," Bella said. She grabbed her coat and her keys, hopped into her rental car and drove off, thanking God that she had left her suitcase in the car. She had no intention of ever returning to La Push.

Bella didn't feel like driving to Seattle so, after a quick bite to eat at the diner in Forks, she drove to Port Angeles and checked into a hotel there. She filled the tub and hopped inside. She needed to unwind and think about what she'd heard. Her cell phone buzzed with a text message. It was from Alice, one of four vampires that she still kept in touch with.

From: A Brandon

To: B Swan

You can't run away from your problems, Bella. You need to face them head on. I promise you that this visit is necessary and will only bring you happiness. If you don't stay, you'll be alone forever.

"Well, what if I don't want to be happy?" Bella said out loud to no one in particular.

A second text message from Alice came through.

From: A Brandon

To: B Swan

Don't give me that shit! Now tomorrow morning you're going to march your ass back to your father's place and hear him out. Then, you're going to tell him why you left, the real reason. If you don't, I'm going to show up and put you through a three day makeover and Bella Barbie session! And trust me, you need one!

Bella typed out a text message to Alice.

From: B Swan

To: A Brandon


She stuck her tongue out at her cell phone for good measure. Immature, yes, but it made her feel better.

Bella, to this day, never doubted Alice Brandon. Alice had done more for her than even her parents did. After Jacob unceremoniously dumped her as a friend, Alice had shown up with Jasper to comfort her. She also came with a warning, Victoria was after Bella and if she didn't leave Forks straight away, the vengeful redhead would take out her friends and family one by one starting with her father and Jacob. Bella packed her bags, scrawled a note to Charlie, and left with Alice and Jasper that day. She told Charlie that she was too depressed to stay, that she was eighteen years old, and she was old enough to venture out on her own. She also told him that she'd call him twice a month so he'd know that she was okay. And she kept that promise. She always called him from a prepaid cell phone that she used once only and couldn't be traced. She knew that her father would use every resource available in law enforcement to look for her. After leaving Forks, Bella's emotional healing began in earnest.

Bella got out of the tub and threw her pajamas on. She turned the TV on and decided to veg out. Ten minutes later, there was a knock on her door. When she opened it, her father, Sue Clearwater, Billy Black, a woman she didn't know, Jacob Black, Leah Clearwater, and Seth Clearwater were standing in the hallway. She sighed and let them inside.

"We need to talk," Jacob said.

"Truly, I have nothing to say to you," Bella replied.

"Well, we have something to tell you and you're going to listen."

"Listen shithead! You don't get to order me around! I make my own decisions!"

"When the hell did you develop such a dirty mouth?" Charlie asked, appalled. "Jesus Christ! I don't know who's worse, you or Leah."

"Erm, well...sorry...I'll try and tone it down, but it doesn't change the fact that I have nothing to say to Jacob Black."

"Fine, Bella. Then you'll talk to me and then you'll tell me what you've been up to for the last thirteen years that required you to live in virtual hiding," Billy Black said.

"Who's the lady with you?"

"This is my wife, Joy. She's Quil's mother. Do you remember him?"

"Goofball with the hot ass."

"That's an interesting way of remembering him."

"Well, he does have a hot ass. So talk." Billy was a bit stunned at how abrasive the once mild mannered daughter of Chief Swan had gotten.

Billy Black proceeded to tell Bella of the Quileute legends. He explained to her about the Cold Ones and the gene that transformed some of the boys into wolves. He told her about the treaty that they had with the Cullens and how they were free to come and go from Forks because they didn't feed on humans.

"So, what you're saying is that Jacob sent me away because he wasn't allowed to divulge the secret of the wolves to me?"

"Yes, exactly."

"I just don't understand why he wasn't allowed to be my friend."

"He couldn't because he had an order that he had to follow from the man that was alpha preceding him, Sam Uley. It was for your safety, he was still a new wolf. He could have phased in front of you and injured you."

"What a prick! Who the hell made him judge and jury?"

"Believe me, it truly was for your own safety, Bella. Sam had an accident that injured his wife permanently. I don't know if you noticed the scars on Emily's face when you met her earlier today."

"Oh my God, those were caused by a wolf attack, weren't they?"


Bella felt bad for jumping to conclusions about Sam Uley. He really was thinking about her safety when he had Jacob send Bella away.

"Now, I think it's time you tell us your story," Billy prompted.

"I will, but you need to keep an open mind. If not, I'll stop talking and I'll leave."

"You have my word."

"I left to keep everyone safe. There was a vengeful redheaded vampire named Victoria after me that was hellbent on draining me because she blamed me for the death of her mate, James. I don't want to delve into specifics, but during my junior year of high school when I ran away to Phoenix, I was actually running from James, who was a tracker, and was after my blood. Apparently, my blood is very fragrant."

"It is," Jacob, Leah, and Seth all said.

"Anyway, two of the Cullens killed him in Phoenix, but they forgot the fact that Victoria was still around. You see, most of the Cullens didn't consider Victoria a factor because Fuckward...sorry Edward, who is a mindreader didn't see her as a threat. The majority of the Cullens worship the golden boy because he can read minds."

Bella took a deep breath before continuing. "On my eighteenth birthday, one thing led to another causing Edward to break up with me. I was devastated because of the way he broke up with me and because I was abandoned by people I had come to know as family. Jacob helped me get over the break up then he pulled his own brand of fuckery on me, even if it wasn't his fault. That day, when I returned to my room, Alice and Jasper, were waiting for me. They told me that Victoria was after me and that if I stayed any longer, she would take out my friends and family one by one beginning with my father and Jacob. There was no way in hell that I was going to let that happen. I cared about both of them too much. My life was already fucked up so I decided that if anyone was going to put themselves in her path it would be me. Besides, Alice is psychic, she can see the future, so I trusted her visions implicitly. That's why I left, I left to keep everyone safe."

"God, Bella, what you must have gone through," Charlie gasped with tears in his eyes. "I wish you would have come to me."

"I couldn't. I really couldn't. Victoria was insane and Alice's visions showed that she would have desecrated all of Forks and La Push if I didn't leave."

"So, what did you end up doing after you left?"

"Well, Alice and Jasper kept me safe. I should probably interject here and tell you that the other Cullens had no interest in keeping me safe because they promised Edward that they would stay away from me so that I can remain human and forget about vampires. Alice and Jasper actually cut all ties with the rest of the Cullens so that they could keep me alive," Bella explained. "So, we left Forks and went to Texas where Jasper's friends, Peter and Charlotte, live. Just so you know, they're human feeding vampires. They only feed off of criminals: murderers, rapists, and the like and they're cool as beans. Peter has a special gift, he knows sh..stuff so between him and Alice, they were able to stay ahead of Victoria. Anyway, I finished high school in Texas with Alice and Charlotte and graduated from there under an assumed name. Of course, it was too late for me to apply to colleges so I attended the University of Texas as a non-matriculated student and eventually became a matriculated student by the following semester. Alice and Charlotte attended college with me to keep me safe. They were pissed off when I decided to major in pre-med, but they suffered through for my sake. After four years, I was accepted to West Virginia University for medical school along with Alice and Charlotte. I graduated with honors and began my residency program at Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage, Alaska. It was the only place where all three of us were accepted and where the weather was crappy enough for Charlotte and Alice to go undetected by humans."

"Wait a minute. You did your residency at a Native American hospital along with two leeches?" Sue asked.

"First of all, Alice and Charlotte are vampires, not leeches. They went out of their way to ensure my safety and the safety of the people of Forks and La Push so you will speak of them with respect. I won't stand for anything less." Bella didn't put up with any form of prejudice when it came to her friends. "Second of all, yes. I was employed at a hospital that served American Indians."

"This is hilarious, Seth. You did your residency at some fancy city hospital in Chicago while Bella here served our people."

"You're a physician?" Bella asked Seth.

"Yes, I'm a family practitioner."

"Interesting. Let me get on with my story. During the third year of my residency program, Victoria finally caught up with me. She kidnapped me while Peter and Charlotte were out hunting and Jasper and Alice were...well they were fucking."

"Victoria is the redheaded leech, right?" Leah asked.


"Just so you know, she was lurking in and around Forks and La Push for about three months after you left the area. Then, she never returned."

"She probably realized that I wasn't there and went looking for me. Anyway, Victoria snatched me and I was taken to an abandoned warehouse where she went through her entire history with her deceased mate, James. I knew that my friends were coming so I kept her talking. I sympathized with her, I told her that I understood her need for vengeance, but that her vengeance was misplaced. I told her about how Edward abandoned me in the woods after bringing me into the vampire world and told me that he never loved me, that I was worthless. We cried together, then Victoria thanked me and wished me luck. She built a pyre for herself, stepped into it, and that was the end of her. By the time, Jasper, Alice, Peter, and Charlotte found me, Victoria had turned into ash. And that's my story."

The room was dead silent. No one knew what to say. Billy Black, for one, was utterly confused. On the one hand, he was angry at the vampires, but on the other, he was grateful to them for keeping her safe. He understood why Bella had to run. She ran to keep Charlie and Jacob safe. For that, he was eternally grateful. She didn't run for selfish reasons at all. One thing was for sure though, the treaty with the Cullens would be voided and a new treaty would be formed with the four vampires that went out of their way to keep Bella safe.

"Excuse me," Seth said. "What happened after Victoria committed suicide?"

"Oh, well, I finished off my residency program and was hired at a hospital in Manhattan, New York. Alice saw that we'd all be going our separate ways. Alice and Jasper live in Paris now and Charlotte and Peter live in Worcester, Massachusetts. Charlotte ended up loving the field of medicine so she's an emergency department physician at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester. We still keep in touch though."

"Why didn't they turn you into a vampire?"

"Well, I didn't want to become a vampire, plus Alice didn't see me as one. She told me that I had my own path in life to follow."

"Why didn't you come and see me after moving to New York?" Charlie asked.

"I wasn't ready. It had been over ten years and I had no idea what I would say to you or how I would explain myself to you if I saw you in person."

"I can understand that. So, are you seeing anyone in New York?"

"Um, not anymore. As I mentioned earlier, I used to have a boyfriend, but I got sick of his elitist ways. He was too concerned about becoming a partner in his law firm and he wanted me to become his perfect Stepford wife. So, I threw him out of my penthouse."

"You own a penthouse in Manhattan?" Seth asked, stunned.

"Um, yeah, part of my graduation gift package."

"A penthouse in Manhattan? Those are several million dollars."

Bella tried to shrug it off. She didn't feel like explaining that her overprotective vampire brothers, Jasper and Peter, had set her up with an overly healthy bank account and a multi-million dollar penthouse in Manhattan with parking.

"Um, how often are you in touch with your vampire friends, Bella?"

"Oh, I talk to them a couple of times a week. Alice was the one that told me that it was time for me to visit my father this Christmas."

"Did she say anything else?" Charlie asked.

"She told me to tell you, 'hi.' Okay, so did I answer all of your questions?"


"Good, well, I don't mean to be rude, but I kind of want to get some sleep."

"You aren't leaving the area, are you?"

"No, I just need some time to chill out alone. I'll stop in to visit tomorrow."

"Bella, you're welcome to stay with us," Sue said. "We have a room all prepped for you."

"Um, let me think about it."

"That's fine. We'll see you tomorrow then?"

"Yes, I'll be by in the afternoon."

The group left Bella alone in her hotel room. Seth had to force himself to leave, but he understood that she was most likely feeling overwhelmed.

As soon as they left, Bella put a call in to Alice.

"What is it, Bella?"

"Don't 'what is it' me, Alice. What the hell is this business about the Quileutes being wolves? Did you know about this?"

"Actually, I did. I can't see too clearly with them, but I get snips of visions here and there."

"Why did you send me to my father's house? I want the truth now."

Alice sighed, "I can't tell you. I don't want to fuck up your future. What I can tell you is that you need to go back to your father's house and stay there. It's imperative."

"Fine, I will, but I really don't have much in common with anyone there."

"Bella, you don't know them."

"Alice, I'm happy with my life. Ever since I threw Quentin out of my apartment, I feel like I can breathe."

"Technically, you didn't throw Quentin out. Jasper threw him out."

"True, did he tell you that Quentin peed his pants on his way out?"

"No, but I saw it. He also peed his pants again in his Volvo. You know, Bella, I don't think that you should date anymore men that drive Volvos. If anyone asks you out, make sure you find out what kind of vehicle they drive."

"I think you're right there. Any other news?"

"I saw in a vision that Edward has finally found his mate."

"Oh, yeah, who is she?"

"HE is a nomad from England named Alistair."

"You owe me and Pete a million bucks each, Alice. We told you he was gay."

"Oh, damn. I forgot about that bet."

"I'm just kidding, you don't need to send me a million dollars. I have more than enough money to last me a lifetime because of Jasper and Peter."

"They just worry about you, Bella. They want to make sure that you don't end up in the poorhouse."

"Alice, I'm a doctor. I'm not ever going to end up in the poorhouse. What's Jasper doing right now anyway?"

"He's watching a stupid documentary on the Civil War right now."

"Can you see Pete and Char?"

"Yep, Char is at work. She's treating a teenager with appendicitis. And Peter is...oh my..."

"Oh my, what?"

"Peter is masturbating to a copy of Big and Bouncy."

"Okay, too much info, Alice."

"Well, you did ask. Ooh! He just came. I don't think he'll be able to use that copy of Big and Bouncy anymore."

"I'm going to bed, Alice. I love you."

"I love you, too, Bella," she chuckled.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this one. I hope I did Dr. Clearwater and Dr. Swan justice. XOXO mama4dukes